Canadian Wrongs: Quebec's Attack on Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses Declared an "Illegal Operation"
In 1940, the Jehovah Witnesses were declared an "illegal operation" pursuant to an order of the Privy Council. This Order was issued under the War Measures Act, which was in effect in Canada at the time. This prohibition on the exercise and functioning of the Jehovah's Witnesses remained in place until 1943.
The Witnesses in Quebec
After the ban on Jehovah's Witnesses was lifted, the organization became active again, including in Quebec. Their activites included the distribution of tracts and materials, including one pamphlet entitled, "Quebec's Burning Hate for God and Christ and Freedom Is the Shame of All Canada".
Historically, the Roman Catholic Church occupied a central place in Quebec society and wieded considerable political influence. Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis's government was no different.
Not surprisingly, the activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses attracted the ire of the Catholic church and those that protected its influence. Premier Duplessis used his political clout and power to try to disrupt the activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Quebec. His actions lead to a string of legal battles, four of which made their way to the Supreme Court of Canada.